Discrimination continues to affect Latino workers at all levels of the economy, whether as a result of a hostile work environment, the denial of promotions, or being forced to work unpaid “overtime.” MALDEF litigation efforts seek to create workplaces that are free from discrimination and to remove systematic barriers to Latino advancement.
In March 2007, MALDEF joined a class action lawsuit seeking to recover millions of dollars in wages owed to construction workers under California wage and hour laws. The claims for unpaid wages could affect over a thousand workers throughout California who work for defendants Western Insulation, Paragon Schmid, or Masco Contractor Services.
Beginning in October 2003, a faculty member of Glendale Community College disseminated racially pernicious e-mails using a system-wide employee listserv. The messages also contained links to the faculty member’s personal web-page, which he maintained on the Maricopa County Community College District’s server. There, the employees encountered offensive and incendiary essays, articles, and links to other racist websites.
All workers, regardless of their race or national origin, should be treated equally in the workplace. Latino employees at Quietflex Manufacturing Company, a Houston based company that manufactures air conditioning ducts, claimed they were not treated equally. Instead, they were segregated in a department with the harshest work conditions, denied transfers, limited in their opportunities for advancement, and paid at substantially lower rates than non-Latino workers.
Two construction companies challenged San Francisco’s Minority and Woman Business Enterprise Ordinance, allowing consideration of race and gender in the awarding of public contracts in the city. The companies argue that the ordinance violates Proposition 209, which prohibits the consideration of race and gender in California contracting, education and employment and is now codified as Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution.